One of the most anticipated weeks of the NCAA tournament has arrived and we got some action in our own Backyard as the NCAA East Regional returns to MSG for the first time since 2014.
This year is special because if you know each roster contains players from the NY Tri-state area. From Harlem, to Long Island , to Westchester, Upstate all the way to Jersey. The East regional and the Sweet 16 as a whole proves how many of the top prospects have come from this area over the years.
A lot of stake with these games so here are some thoughts going into tonight.
Michigan State vs Kansas State is a game of pressure, also a CHSAA Homecoming.
This matchup ever since it became official on Sunday has been running through my mind. Michigan State is back in the same place that they were in 2014, but this time the goal for them is to get out of this weekend and head to Houston next weekend rather than have their season end in the Empire State. The Spartans behind the stellar play of Christ The King Alum Tyson Walker, AJ Hoggard and Joey Hauser stomped Marquette late in the second half en route to a 69-60. The Spartans are trying to avoid what happened in 2014 but they have a huge step to get over in the Sweet 16 as they face a red hot Kansas State team.
Kansas State one of the biggest surprises of the season (to others, not us) is looking to shock the world once again as they come into tonight’s matchup against the Spartans (+105 on Draft-kings, – 105 on FanDuel for the betters out there) and one of the players leading the way for them is East Harlem’s Markquis Nowell a product of the CHSAA (Bishop Loughlin) and the Patrick School is set to have a huge performance in his Garden Debut.
The Wildcats also have other New Yorkers such as Naequan Tomlin (Harlem), Ishmael Massoud (East Harlem) and Tykei Greene (Queens) who are also taking this game as a home game.
To be honest this game should have been the nightcap in my opinion however I will say this.
Who ever wins game one will be in Houston next weekend.
Quote me on that.
Tennessee vs Florida Atlantic: Will the local guys flourish
The Owls of Florida Atlantic have been one of the hottest mid major teams this season. They are also the same team that prevented FDU from coming to MSG. The Owls feature Nick Boyd and Jalen Gaffney (UConn Transfer) the active local players on this team but they also feature one of their stars Johnell Davis who went off for 29/12/5 in the win against FDU. The Garden floor always brings the best out of many players in their Garden Debut so he’s one player to watch in the nightcap.
Tennessee’s Local products Zakai Ziegler who’s out due to injury and Tobe Awaka are here and it’s going to be great to see Awaka on this stage if he’s given minutes. Speaking of that, back on December 11th at the Hoop Hall Hall of Fame Invitational, Awaka had his best game off the bench with seven points and eight boards in the win against Maryland depending on how the front court matchup is tonight it will be interesting to see if Awaka gets some minutes.
The Vol’s Oliver Nkahouma had a huge game against Duke in the second round with 27 and 10 boards. It will be interesting to see if he continues that tonight against FAU.
In this game I expect Tennessee to win a close one. FAU is coming in hot won’t be an easy team to beat for the Vols.
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